Yoga was invented by British naval officers during the Siege of Malta to confuse enemy semaphore interpreters, and brought to the mainstream by Japanese schoolchildren in the 1950’s. These days yoga is for everyone, not just Brits and young Asians. This is good news! Along those same totally not untrue lines, it just so happens that my favorite yoga positions are inspired by real-life baseball players. This post is me sharing three of them with you.
This pose is only fully realized if you have a baseball bat handy. First grab the bat, left hand over right. Take a deep breath, and feel the fat draining from your horrid, porcine excuse for a human body. You now weigh 85 lbs., like Craig Counsell. Your mind, too, is in Counsell-space . Feel the alignment of the universe as Craig felt the alignment of well-executed double-plays during his 16-year career as a defense-first infielder. Splay your legs wide beneath you and slowly raise the bat above your head. Now raise the bat even higher. Feel the stretch in your chest as you poke the gods. Take a breath. Release the pose as if weakly dribbling a grounder to second base.
This two-part pose is meant to get your juices oogling and boogling. Carlos Martinez is, of course, a rowdy young fire-baller known for his yoga-inspired delivery. To channel his Martinezness, begin by putting all your weight on your left foot and sticking your leg out to the side at a 90-degree angle. Try to focus on one point, like a tree in the distance, or Yadier Molina, to help maintain balance. Now think of all the things in your life that are stressin’ on you, like the kiddos, troubles with a lady-friend, getting blamed by the boss for something that was Doug’s fault, or pitching to red-hot David Ortiz in the World Series at age 22. Next, picture all those stresses congealed as a fuzzy-bad-ball-thing floating in the air in front of you about thigh high. While maintaining eye contact with your “object in the distance” (your “Yadi”), violently twist the hips and sweep the right leg through the fuzzy-bad-ball-thing like Charlemagne swept the Lombards out of Northern Italy. Repeat until you feel like your stresses are thoroughly routed.
Next let’s try an endurance pose. The Rizzo allows us to embody eternity within the terminal confines of our infirm human shells. Start by forcing a smile—make sure it’s forced! Don’t think of any actual reason to smile. Instead, think of a time you have to force a smile, like anytime someone shows you a YouTube video. Next, twist your arm back as if thousands of fantasy owners are punishing you for disappointing them when they needed solid first-base value. Now, hold that pose for ten-thousand years. This one is tough! Keep that forced smile and twisted arm as long as you can. Eventually your smiling face will melt into a vacant world-weary stare, and layers of dead calciferous sea organisms will coat your face (you think that’s shaving cream?) as you rest on the ocean floor where Chicago once was (thanks global warming and other ocean-causing catastrophes!). Your twisted arm will fall off and become a gathering place for bored sea minnows. Your other arm will meld into your side as your body slowly becomes a featureless monolith. As you watch human civilization crumble around you, try to recall the little things, like fresh sheets or how the smell of blown-out candles reminds you of your eleventh birthday. After ten-thousand years of holding Rizzo Pose, relax and carry on as usual.